Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Help! I'm offended...

It has become apparent to me that of all the triggers in our brains, the one I have noticed becoming stronger in our society is the offended trigger.

Which celebrity today is in the news because of a remark they made not being 100% politically correct in every regard?

Which person expresses their own opinion without someone with a different one losing their marbles over it?

This is the time period I find myself in, and I know that offense isn't exclusive to right now.  Yet, I have noticed that offense has become the new of the few remaining acceptable cardinal sins in our society. 

I get offended, but most of the time I don't say anything about it.  

Why?

Here is what you should do if you get offended:

1. Stop.  We are so used to our trigger emotions ruling over us in a given moment, that we have lost the ability to come face to face with our emotions and analyze it.  It is easy to understand why, given the state of our society today.  We have lost a sense of seeking peace within ourselves and just accept our basic instincts and nature in most cases.  Many do not believe that we can better ourselves.  Also, many do not believe they are capable of overreacting.  

2. Think.  Was that something to get offended over?  What was the point that person who offended you was trying to make?  If they had said it in a better way, would you still be offended?  

3. Option. You can give the person the benefit of the doubt.  This is the option that most people don't consider.  Yet, many things don't get said that really should get said.  Maybe this person was doing that.  I can see how that can be offensive.  Yet, maybe if it offended you, you possibly need to humble yourself to accept that this person was doing just that.  Or, the other option being...

4. Say something to that person.  I have experienced a lot of good by actually having a private conversation a bit after the fact of being offended, with enough time to think and compose myself, and to tell the person how their remark or action affected me.  It gives them a chance to clarify in a non-defensive manner.  Most of the time in these cases, the person offended will likely realize they should have just given the benefit of the doubt.  

What not to do:

1. Don't tell other people about the offensive remark when you have not said anything to that person directly.  Be brave.  Don't be a coward.  If you resort to gossip and slander, you are no better than you think of the person who offended you.

2. Do not explode on the person even after you have waited some time.  The purpose is reconciliation and understanding, not causing more division.

3. If someone approaches you over a remark you made that was offensive, take it gracefully.  It was hard for them to do that, so be gracious.  You likely were not out to offend anyone, so keep that in mind when they are talking to you.

4. If the person approaching you has a point, apologize.

5. Here is a difficult one: Being sorry is when you truly are remorseful.  If you are not sorry, do not say it.  If an apology is not sincere, it is best not given.  I understand this part is hard, but I think that apologies are thrown out so often these days and appear insincere, that the act itself is losing meaning.  People just see it as a way to get others of their case.  That isn't what it is supposed to be about.  

So...

Be honest, be courteous, be honest, be sincere, be honest, and be loving. 




Sunday, April 5, 2015

Faith and Science walk into a bar together...

Ah...  the forced (mythical) battle between two comrades: faith and science.

A somewhat tiresome battle it is at that.  So much polemics is spilled through ink and other media to talk about this hypothetical battle between science and religion.  A quick search through a Reddit subforum, or possibly a show like "Cosmos", would reveal to me that there are atheists and agnostics trying to preach this crusade of science over religion.  The sad part is:

it isn't just a one-sided war.

Many atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Daniel Dennet, Steven Pinker, and the late great Christopher Hitchens (if these names are not redundant by now, then maybe it is time to play catch-up and start reading these fellows, particularly Hitchens who I am honestly a bit of a fan of and have never encountered a man argue from the wrong side in such a compelling way; a man of great argumentation.) enjoy making the claim that religion is just a form of God goggles that block out reality and science and just help people to feel good and to see things their their God lenses.  Honestly, they are right about some of us.  I know them personally.  Thankfully, it isn't every person of faith.

I was debating with myself about what to blog about, and a couple topics came to mind.  I got thrown a curveball, and here the subject stands before you.  I was at a relative's house for Easter and I was rudely eavesdropping on a conversation I was not welcomed into: one person claiming they listened to a seminar from a Christian "somebody" who made the (never dying) claim that carbon dating can be difficult to determine, based off the different variables that can set off a date.  Therefore, ipso facto, the Earth is not 4.5 billion years old, but can safely be assumed to be the 6,000 year old figure that a Christian "somebody" determined.  I have heard the same "seminar" given by different people at different times.  Also, the fact that I was reading through Genesis 1-9, the topic was so deep in my mind that I wanted to throw my two cents into the... equation...?


Can I just set the record straight?

Even if the Earth is not 4.5 billion years old and is younger than that by some miscalculation of a misread carbon dating calculation, it is unreasonable to assume that the misreading can easily make the jump from 4.5 billion to 6,000.  One might say that the number is greatly extended to cover up the so-called truth of Christian revelation and the time of our existence.  That isn't at all how the scientific community operates, and anybody who actually is interested in science and the new data that unfolds as time goes on would quickly discern that.  That isn't something that we are dealing with, at least right now.

There was a time, when I was cautious around science and the data that scientists claim to be points of fact or "plausible theories".  As a Catholic, it isn't something I even need to worry about anymore.  On the contrary, I can actually take an interest in the data that scientists discover and apply it to my faith.  I do not need to fret when atheists trumpet 4.5 billion years on their trumpets.  I do not fret.

If there is scientific data to provide evidence that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, that we humans evolved from a lower form of life into the beings we are today, the universe had a beginning or not- then that is what I will go with.  Many religious leaders, both Catholic and non, more or less accept this same stance.  Why shouldn't they?

Faith and religion that are truly good are not locked inside themselves where their truth cannot be understood through reason or nature.  If your faith is absolutely true, then we need to be able to discern some ramifications and natural causality in the universe.  How can it be true if you are worried about what scientific data may show?

I can sense it coming:

"Well then, Fro... since you clearly do not believe what the bible says, what then do you believe in?"

The question has been thrown my way during these conversations.  The problem is the question itself is wrong.

Part 2 sometime.

Also, apologies for the title- it was either that or "Who's got two thumbs and loves faith and science? THIS GUY!"

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Ordinary Time Podcast: Episode 001

Hi friends, I am involved with a group of friends in recording a regularly recorded podcast with friends.  Please check out the first episode!

Ordinary Time- Episode 001